For meetings planners, speaker management is a time-consuming task whether you’re planning an event that boasts five speakers or 50. Wondering how to save time and reduce stress? During a recent Visit Alexandria webinar, industry expert Philip Saims, vice president of sales at Federal Conference, shared solutions for streamlining speaker management with the help of all-in-one platforms. Keep reading for his recommendations.
Isolate Current Pain Points
When it comes to speaker management, all roads lead back to the planner. Consider a typical speaker management timeline: As soon as the program direction is determined by the leadership of your organization or client, the planner helps decide whether to repeat well-received speakers or create a fresh program. After issuing requests via LinkedIn and other networks for new speakers, the planner receives and sifts through potential speakers’ content or abstract submissions, then once again reports to leadership to make final decisions.
Once speakers are selected, planners must notify them, request bios, ask for headshots, etc., not to mention receive and review their content. After the preparations, planners are responsible for on-site coordination at the micro and macro level, from editing speakers’ presentations to managing AV. Throughout this timeline, identify specific pain points for your team and organization.
Inspect Your Process and Identify the Features You Need
Taking the time to stop, analyze and document your current process and resources will pay dividends in the long run. Consider the tools currently at your disposal in order to seek out the features that can save time and money while improving attendee engagement. Currently, your tools and their functions may include platforms such as MailChimp to track e-mails, repositories for receiving content from speakers, such as Dropbox or Google Docs and a calendar system such as Outlook. To control meeting rooms and times, many planners are managing an unwieldy, multi-tabbed spreadsheet. Consider other tools in your repertoire. Where do you create and update your checklist? How can you assign tasks to speakers? How are you pushing out content on the website and/or mobile app?
It’s also worth evaluating your current integration capabilities. You may be using systems such as IMIS or Salesforce for membership management. Consider integration capabilities for registration, mobile app and surveys, along with assigning tasks, sending reminders and making last-minute updates to all channels. Do your current platforms provide reporting analytics for telling a story to leadership?
Now, consider your capacity for future growth. You may need to adjust to directives from new leadership or work toward increasing membership and revenue. Finally, are there current engagement strategies, such as producing a mobile app, that you would like to pursue?
Invest in Solutions
Now that you’ve identified current pain points and goals for improving your process, you can strategically scope out platform solutions. The free service Capterra is a helpful starting point to finding the right speaker management platform. One such platform is Expo Tracker, a robust product with customizable “Speaker Profile” functions and “Submission Systems” dashboard, displaying who has responded to your requests, whether you are on track with receiving speaker materials and letting you create custom reports to present analytics.
For large-scale events and organizations, CVENT’s Speaker Resource is a comprehensive, all-in-one solution that lets planners easily share information and assignments with speakers, while keeping tabs on their progress. Watch the webinar to explore all the functions through a live demo by CVENT.
Finding the right platform will streamline speaker responsibilities, save time for the planning team and ultimately provide a positive experience for attendees that is reflected in post-event surveys.
Insider Tip: To learn more about streamlining speaker management, watch Visit Alexandria’s webinar with Philip Saims of Federal Conference and Julia Gould of CVENT.
Header Image Credit: Chris Cruz for Visit Alexandria